Rosemary herb - cold-hardy for Vancouver

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Georgia Strait, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Well-Known Member

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    Garden hindsight - should have brought certain plants when moving

    I am looking for a permanent outdoor rosemary in a bed (possible large pot.)

    - I use it for cooking (plus the plant is pretty and low maintenance)

    as of 2018, which are the hardiest rosemary (labels - names) for this region?

    the garden I am describing gets sudden valley outflow cold temps near Vanc

    however, this plant is sheltered

    but when it is cold, it's cold.

    thank you.
     
  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I grow Rosemary in north Burnaby, using plants started from seed. It seems that most plants survive our winters; I've only lost a couple in the 30 years that I've grown them. They were planted right at the south edge of a small deck and have received lots of runoff water, soapy wash water, and slushy snow from the deck; so they have not been babied. Young plants are available from all of the garden centres, but seeds also work quite well. One tactic that I've tried is to sow a bunch of seeds in an unsheltered part of the garden and leave the resulting young plants in that location over the winter. Natural selection will eliminate the least hardy ones, and you can select the most robust survivor(s) for transplanting to a more favourable location. Another thing to note: if you know someone who has a plant that has survived many winters, cuttings are easy to root in either water or simply in the ground. I tried both ways last year, with success.
     
  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Well-Known Member

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    this is great info - N Bby near ocean sounds like similar climate. I wonder if there's a way to msg on this forum if you are willing to share any cuttings etc

    I have done - as you suggest - the grow rosemary in a glass of water (on the proverbial kitchen window sill) --- with success . but a winter maybe Feb 2017 or Nov 2016 took mine out for good - a sudden drop in temp (the outflow)
     
  4. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    Putting it in the ground will help with hardiness, as long as the drainage is good. You’ll lose rosemary faster by drowning it than anything else. Drowning and then freezing is the worst.
     
  5. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    We grow our rosemary in a raised bed, drainage is paramount for rosemary. The biggest problem I had with it last year with all the snow we had was the wet snow bending the branches. This is it along with a Camelia and when it snows this heavily you have to be diligent about removing the snow frequently unless you like bent branches.... I've seen rosemary used as hedging in East Vancouver over the years....


    Pieter
     

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  6. Raeanne Steele

    Raeanne Steele New Member

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    My rosemary hedge had a most terrible second winter. One of the problems is drainage, for sure. Another is that the garden is in partial shade during the day. Would anyone have any suggestions to revive them? Should I replant if they die? Can anyone suggest an alternative hedging that is hardier? The plants behind the rosemary are: 1. Echinacea Pallida "Hula Dancer," which is very leggy in that location. 2. Dwarf Japanese Barberry, which is doing better. I have Dwarf Sweetbox in another area that is really happy. Just wondering if I should replace with that? Thanks everyone for any help you can give me!
     

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  7. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Well-Known Member

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    2 points -
    a. yes, my Arp rosemary has survived so far - I kept in a pot in a very sheltered outdoor area - so far so good (EDIT to clarify - I read all the suggestions and some other info off net and asked garden center expert - and decided to buy all-new rosemary plant - and I chose "Arp" - and it's a-ok so far over the 2018 summer and then this past winter in to March 2019)

    b. in reply to West Van (immediately above) - I think Buxus (boxwood) would serve you well in place of rosemary (I know, expensive to replace but the rosemary does not look happy compared to the rest of your cared-for semi-formal landscape). I have similar rocky, dry, shaded near ocean on the Coast near Vanc - and I do well with a buxus that is ideal for containers. It is not demanding at all (I pretty much abandoned it where the pots got placed after moving)

    the buxus I have did well this past Feb with all the minus temps and snow and ice - no burn marks on the leaves.

    I have a couple of deer who wander thru - but they haven't touched the buxus (you'd have to read up on what local West Van deer like)

    make sure you pick SLOW GROWING and "rounded" (there are some distinct columnar buxus) - unless you want a bigger hedge, that is - but it looks like you're aiming for more of a low controlled border.

    Your garden service should let it establish (probably a drip hose to get it going the first summer at least) --- then gentle shearing if you want that square look. (knot garden style) --- BUT don't let the garden crew take their massive shearing blades to it - and don't cut it back too far (it will be ruined). I would say you'd want to space the new plants about 2 feet apart (maybe 18 inches)

    read up on the types you find at your nursery (I imagine all the usual places ranging from the Big Box store at South Park Royal to Maple Leaf hi end in West Van would have this product in by now - so go and look at the labels - note them (photo them) and go home and look online to compare attributes (slow growing / mature height-width / etc)

    If i find my label from the buxus I have here in containers - I'll post it ---- I seem to think Emerald but ...
    ALSO - just google "best buxus for knot garden" and I think there's an article from SFGate website which is pretty helpful

    The Sunset western garden book would likely have good suggestions too (note their proprietary garden climate zone system - which I find very accurate) www.sunset.com (probably avail at your good year-round plant nursery)
    ============
    EDIT ----- HERE is a good place to start - lots of local retail plant stores carry from this major grower - they have good photos and suggestions on website -
    Boxwoods Make Gardens Better | Monrovia

    PS - maybe if you do start your border low edge from "scratch" again - you can salvage a few of the better rosemary and put them in a sunny, dry, sheltered spot against your house where you can pick the herb for your kitchen. A well-drained container is a must.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  8. Raeanne Steele

    Raeanne Steele New Member

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    Thanks so much, Georgia Strait!
     
  9. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Well-Known Member

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    You’re welcome ... i found the label and it’s Buxus « green velvet » ... tho I bought this maybe 6 years ago so there might be something « new and improved » fr the plant nursery world

    ÉDIT - i note that Green Velvet is on that Monrovia list - and yes it is perky green year round in our Howe Sound winter chill weather ... and yes has a rounded loose growth habit (I don’t shear) and mine are NOT 4 feet tall (then again I don’t really feed or water them) - I’d estimate approx 20 inch tall and 24 inch wide .
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  10. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    If you have dogs, don't let them pee on the Buxus, especially the mounding kind. Our strata had to haul all of ours out that the builder put in along the front sidewalk because the local dogs did so much damage. The leaves get yellow and drop, and they don't seem to come back. The taller, lankier ones we have along the side (in full shade) don't care as much but they're not formal at all.
     
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  11. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Well-Known Member

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    yes the dog pee is a risk - I thought of adding that to my earlier post - then ...
    but, thank you for pointing it out, and especially for a strata, it's a huge expense

    i sent an evil eye to a woman letting her leash-brat (rude I know) urinate on my daffodils and shrubs the other day - the human didn't seem to care or apologize. The dog's bathroom is supposed to be on YOUR property, lady!
     
  12. Raeanne Steele

    Raeanne Steele New Member

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    Thanks for the tips everyone! I am still pondering because the area has a drainage problem. As well, my gardening bills are astronomical. I am thinking I need a planting that is low maintenance and hardy. The site gets boggy in winter. Partial sun, except in july august.
     
  13. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    Sounds like Buxus is your boy, then. Seems to be tolerant of wet ground, and other than dogs we haven't had much trouble with it.
     
  14. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I agree, buxus seem pretty forgiving

    so - I think that I'd be running to the nearest plant store (wow, that sounds like a great idea! I'm an easy sell)

    and buying a few baby buxus - probably on sale at a big box store in W Vanc --- I would choose as close as possible to the name I'm thinking of installing -

    and testing them before installing a tidy row of 30 of them. Literally plonk them in to the exact area you are considering - and then leave them be. See what happens. No water, no fuss. Put a decorative summer planter and an artful "found" sculpture from the beach in front if the odd design of just a couple of boxwoods bugs your design eye.

    also - to the OP - you know how in the photo you posted back when - it appears that there is a slight slope down in to the junction of the garden bed and the lawn (struggling rosemary plants) - is that correct? so the buxus (boxwood) would be planted minimum one foot (12 inches) BACK from the lawn edge --- so would that also be soggy wet? In the photo it looks like that specific garden bed is "mounded" which is typical for a landscaper-installed bed around a lawn.

    I don't understand how what appears to be grasses in that same bed are surviving if the entire bed is soggy wet. I'd think of ornamental grasses as well-drained soil.

    EDIT - I went back and looked at your photo - and what I thought were trimmed grasses (end of winter, now spring trim by landscaper) appear to be some other small shrub. Regardless, my question about stepping the planting of new border row (of maybe this buxus idea) would be at least 12 inches back I'd think to allow for growth and lawnmower machine, the machine edge tool those landscape people use

    some thoughts to consider.
     
  15. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    Just a note: sweet box likes wet ground but it will RUN if it gets the chance (voice of experience, I had it near a leaky hose bib in a previous house). In less wet situations it stays neat.
     
  16. ming.zafer

    ming.zafer New Member

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    You’ll lose rosemary faster by drowning it than anything else. Drowning and then freezing is the worst.
     

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